Monthly Archives: March 2018

John Bolton Is Only as Dangerous as His Boss

Amid the routine chaos surrounding the Trump administration, one recent change in personnel, among many in recent weeks, stands out.

After months of rumour, always followed by denial, Donald Trump announced that John Bolton, once upon a time the American ambassador the United Nations, will shortly replace General H. R. McMaster as the president’s national security advisor. Continue reading

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‘Kneel or Starve’: Damascus’s Brutal Ultimatum to the Population of Eastern Ghouta

Under siege for almost five years, the rebel enclave of Eastern Ghouta, in Syria’s Damascus governorate, faces liquidation by the regime of Bashar Assad.

The regime, aided by Russian planes, began a campaign in February to conquer Eastern Ghouta. Within days, hundreds of civilians were killed in air attacks. Continue reading

Fair-weather Friends

Turkey’s campaign to capture the Syrian-Kurdish district of Afrin appears to be entering its final stages. The complete encirclement of Afrin city itself by Turkish forces and their Free Syrian Army (FSA) rebel allies is reported to be imminent, with just two villages yet to be taken, according to FSA sources. Continue reading

Turkey’s Limited Victory in Afrin

When Turkey began its campaign against the Kurdish canton of Afrin in northern Syria, undertaken in tandem with selected Syrian rebel groups, global condemnation followed.

Operation Olive Branch, as it is ironically called, met with fierce criticism from the beginning. Continue reading

New Rebel Coalition Joins Syria’s Splintering War

The Syrian Liberation Front (JTS), a newly formed insurgent coalition in northern Syria, was conceived in and exists for war.

Formed by an agreement between the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and the more ideologically flexible Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, JTS was bolstered by defections from other, smaller Islamist factions. Continue reading

Covering the Ground

Review – Days of the Fall: A Reporter’s Journey in the Syria and Iraq Wars by Jonathan Spyer

As the violence of the Syrian civil war increased, and as the Islamic State group (IS) crossed the Iraqi border, it was clear that the wars in these two countries would become the essential conflict of our times. Continue reading

Mohammed Bin Salman’s Visit Should Be Welcomed, but Cautiously

Today, the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has arrived in Britain, beginning a three-day visit. This British sojourn is part of a global tour which has taken bin Salman to Egypt and which will include a visit to the United States. Continue reading